Rules question - Initiative Cards

Unit-based, continuous action, fantasy skirmish game

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Zetan
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Rules question - Initiative Cards

Postby Zetan » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:09 pm

I know this board hasn't been updated in over a year, but hopefully there's still someone keeping an eye on it. :)

The rules talk about dealing cards to determine things like initiative order, and having the highest card in "hand." Terms like "dealing" and "hand" imply that these cards are kept secret, but that makes it a lot harder to determine who has the highest card. Are initiative cards meant to stay hidden until discarded, or is your "hand" public knowledge?

underling
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Re: Rules question - Initiative Cards

Postby underling » Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:58 pm

Zetan wrote:I know this board hasn't been updated in over a year, but hopefully there's still someone keeping an eye on it. :)
The rules talk about dealing cards to determine things like initiative order, and having the highest card in "hand." Terms like "dealing" and "hand" imply that these cards are kept secret, but that makes it a lot harder to determine who has the highest card. Are initiative cards meant to stay hidden until discarded, or is your "hand" public knowledge?

Typically the way I've handled initiative is as follows:

For starters, I rank the suits differently (spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs) than the rules call for, but that simply boils down to preference.

1) Deal the cards from the deck.
2) Call for each rank of card, starting with aces, but one rank at a time.
3) If there is more than one ace, activate by rank of suit.
So the only cards known will be the current rank that is activating.

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all cards have been played.

The cards should remain hidden until they are played, but if more than one of a given rank has been dealt that's a little more difficult to do.

Kevin

Zetan
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Re: Rules question - Initiative Cards

Postby Zetan » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:22 pm

This seems like a lot of effort, and still doesn't fully accomplish the intention of "cards are not revealed until they're played," since cards of the same rank are revealed simultaneously. Do you find that all this adds a lot to the gameplay? I wonder if there's an easier way to accomplish the same thing.. obviously a third person looking at the cards would work, but maybe a computer program could work too...

underling
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Re: Rules question - Initiative Cards

Postby underling » Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:18 am

Zetan wrote:This seems like a lot of effort, and still doesn't fully accomplish the intention of "cards are not revealed until they're played," since cards of the same rank are revealed simultaneously. Do you find that all this adds a lot to the gameplay? I wonder if there's an easier way to accomplish the same thing.. obviously a third person looking at the cards would work, but maybe a computer program could work too...

Note that cards don't have to be revealed until they are played.
I just do it that way to expedite things.
You could certainly start with the aces, and call for your first suit. If no one has it, call for your second suit. And so on. I've played and/or run numerous games of ARES, and never had it be an issue.
Keep in mind that each player is only going to have a number of cards equal to the number of units and individuals.
Most of the games I've run I've tried to cap the number of units commanded by each player at three to five.
Kevin

Zetan
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Re: Rules question - Initiative Cards

Postby Zetan » Sun Apr 20, 2014 4:07 am

So, I did some brainstorming, and came up with a houserule that should accomplish the goals of the initiative rule, without having to call out each rank/suit combination individually. First, my assumptions about the goals of the initiative rule (which are hopefully correct):
A) Neither player knows for certain who will activate next, except in very rare circumstances (such as having the highest suit ace).
B) In spite of not knowing for certain, both players can make educated guesses about who will activate next, based on the strength of their hand.
C) The player with a greater number of unactivated units has a higher chance of activating next.

With these goals in mind, I have come up with this process:

1) Both players are dealt a number of cards equal to the number of units they have, as normal.
2) Both players reveal the highest card currently in their hand.
3) The player with the higher card out of these two activates a unit.
4) The player with the lower card draws a new card off the top of the deck.
5) Repeat steps 2-4 until all of one player's units have been activated, then the other player finishes activating his remaining units.

What do you think? As I said, it seems to accomplish all the goals of the original system, unless there are any goals I overlooked. And it should move things along much quicker.

underling
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Re: Rules question - Initiative Cards

Postby underling » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:22 pm

Zetan wrote:So, I did some brainstorming, and came up with a houserule that should accomplish the goals of the initiative rule, without having to call out each rank/suit combination individually. First, my assumptions about the goals of the initiative rule (which are hopefully correct):
A) Neither player knows for certain who will activate next, except in very rare circumstances (such as having the highest suit ace).
B) In spite of not knowing for certain, both players can make educated guesses about who will activate next, based on the strength of their hand.
C) The player with a greater number of unactivated units has a higher chance of activating next.
With these goals in mind, I have come up with this process:
1) Both players are dealt a number of cards equal to the number of units they have, as normal.
2) Both players reveal the highest card currently in their hand.
3) The player with the higher card out of these two activates a unit.
4) The player with the lower card draws a new card off the top of the deck.
5) Repeat steps 2-4 until all of one player's units have been activated, then the other player finishes activating his remaining units.
What do you think? As I said, it seems to accomplish all the goals of the original system, unless there are any goals I overlooked. And it should move things along much quicker.

Based on my experience I'm not sure whether this gains you anything, but I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't work.
The nice thing about ARES is that it works with any number of initiative/activation mechanics.
Kevin
Kevin


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